Published on: 02/06/2015
Over 400 girls gathered at the Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (YHSS) auditorium in Thimpu on 28 May 2015 to observe the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day in Bhutan.
School health coordinators gave presentations on menstrual hygiene management, challenges and impacts of poor menstrual hygiene on health, reasons for girl-friendly toilets, and importance of safe disposal of sanitary pads.
[Making sanitary napkins available at schools] will make sure that girls do not miss classes during menstruation, Deki Tshomo
There were demonstrations too on how to make reusable sanitary pads. Comprehensive School Health Division's deputy chief programme officer, Deki Tshomo said unlike in the past, most schools today teach students not only how to sew reusable sanitary pads but also how to wash them.
Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School sells commercial sanitary napkins to students for Nu 10 (US$ 0.16) each.
At the gathering, SNV shared its findings on menstrual hygiene in Bhutan collected during a national study conducted in 2014. The study highlighted issues related to access and affordability, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, and social support. The findings clearly showed that issues arise because menstrual hygiene is not talked about openly, leading to poor hygiene practices during menstruation and incorrect disposal of used sanitary products.
Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School organised the half-day programme for Menstrual Hygiene Day in collaboration with the Department of Youth and Sports. The Public Health Engineering Division (PHED) and SNV provided technical and financial support.
Bhutan is one of the countries where SNV implements the Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All (SSH4) approach with support from IRC. In 2013, SNV and IRC carried out research in Uganda on the need for menstrual facilities in primary schools.
This news item is based on articles posted by SNV and Kuensel Online (see links below).